Return-Path-Data Lexicon: Viewing and Tuning Elements

CIMM is taking a proactive role in advancing new media nomenclature and processes with both its Lexicon(terms and definitions associated with return path data measurement) and Asset Identification Primer (glossary of asset terms). These documents form the basis of this column, which offers a common language for RPD nomenclature that can expedite the rollout of the data for its many industry applications.

Set-top-box-based return-path data, for example, is collected passively via the box, which mitigates some measurement challenges, such as non-cooperation and fatigue, in the button-pushing panel of the current currency. However passive data collection has its own set of challenges. While tuning to a network may be recorded because the set-top box is turned on, do we know if there is actual viewing occurring?

Tuning vs viewing was addressed in a previous column (Return-Path-Data Lexicon: Viewing Versus Tuning). Today we examine those terms and definitions associated with measuring tuning and how some of these terms also address viewing. We also note here any concerns and comments regarding each term.



Tuning Duration

See also: Duration

CIMM DEFINITION: The length of time that a set-top box is tuned into a channel, network or other content. Duration is impacted by Latency and can differ from viewing duration (Dwell Time) in that there may not be anyone viewing during a tuning duration.

Tuning Event (Tune In, Tune Out)

CIMM DEFINITION: Similar to tuning duration - the specific piece of content that is recorded on the set-top box. Some processors are using channel change activity to denote tuning events. Others say they are using 5 second intervals.

2.  Any access to a single channel via the STB for a duration of time. (Source: Nielsen)

NOTE - Some processors are using channel change activity to denote tuning events. Others say they are using five-second intervals. A combination of both might indicate actual viewing.

Tuning Retention

CIMM DEFINITION: Amount of time tuned to an event measured by seconds. (Source: Nielsen)

2.  Also known as Tune-In (Source: Visible World)

Viewing Logs (Daily)

CIMM DEFINITION : The tuning records.

NOTE - Are they drawn from the same homes every day?

NOTE – Census-level measurement (e.g., FourthWall Media’s Event Stream Collector) measures the same households and Set-top boxes every day, except for subscriber and STB churn, which must be accounted for. (Source: FourthWall Media)

Please refer to the CIMM Lexicon online at for additional information on these and other terms.

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